Covid-19: why some French people plan to keep their masks on public transport

Three public transport users talk to about the reasons why they will continue to wear the mask, despite the lifting of the obligation next Monday.

“I don’t understand what motivates this decision”, wonders for Nadia, a 37-year-old Parisian, who will keep her mask on Monday in public transport, despite the lifting of the obligation.

“There are still new contaminations every day, people hospitalized. I fear it will be like last year: a relaxation of barrier gestures before the summer, before a new wave at the start of the school year.

“I don’t want to be a vector of the pandemic”

Olivier Véran, the Minister of Health, announced Wednesday after the Council of Ministers that wearing a mask would no longer be compulsory in transport from May 16.

While the average number of new confirmed positive cases is down, it is still just over 35,000 per day, according to the official monitoring of the health situation. As for hospitalized people, if their number is also decreasing, there are still more than 900 new daily admissions to the hospital.

Nadia, a teacher in higher education, especially fears spreading the epidemic. She takes the metro every day to get to her place of work, with a forty-five minute journey. She always wears her mask in class when the windows are not open.

“I am vaccinated, I don’t worry about myself, even if I have no desire to be sick, to lose my taste and smell and to confine myself. But I don’t want to be a vector of pandemic. I go from one class to another, I have a responsibility vis-à-vis my students. I will not go looking for the Covid. “

“It’s not very responsible”

Nadia is not the only one to be reluctant to give up wearing a mask on public transport. Some caregivers and epidemiologists are divided and believe that “in some cases, wearing a mask remains appropriate”. What Mircea Sofonea, lecturer in epidemiology and evolution of infectious diseases at the University of Montpellier explained for BFMTV:

“Carrying it to a deserted bus stop doesn’t serve the same purpose as carrying it to a sports fan coach or a crowded subway train you know you’ll be staying in for a while.”

Evelyne, 74, does not plan to drop the mask either. If this retired teacher who lives in Seine-et-Marne does not take public transport daily, she does however regularly take the train to go to Paris – an hour’s journey – in particular to go to appointments. you medical and visit one of his daughters.

“It’s still rushed and not very responsible,” she worries for “We must not forget that there are still deaths due to Covid” (on average 90 per day, according to official data, editor’s note).

Evelyne thus evokes her own case, that of a person at risk who could be contaminated – she has never caught the Covid but is vaccinated – by users of public transport no longer wearing the mask. When the announcement last February of the end of the obligation to wear a mask indoors for mid-March, this septuagenarian had already confided her concerns to us. And then assured that she would continue to wear the mask indoors.

“We’ve been immersed in this pandemic for two years, I don’t see what the problem is with continuing to wear the mask in transport, we’ve gotten used to it and it can save lives, she insists. It would still be aberrant not to wear the mask when we are glued to people in the metro at rush hour for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes or even longer.

Others, if they are circumspect about the end of the mask in public transport, consider on the other hand that it is in the logical sequence of things. Like Lisa, a 41-year-old news correspondent. This Parisian, used to public transport, no longer wears it when she goes out to dance several evenings a week. The young woman is a regular at salsa clubs.

“I no longer put it on to dance when we are in closed places, very close to each other, we hold each other in our arms and we change partners with each song, she testifies for However, I think I will continue to wear it in the metro. Out of habit.”

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